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MPs on warpath over hospital cover-up claim
4:00pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
THE MP for Thurrock has accused Labour ministers of being “more concerned with their reputations than patients” after allegations the party tried to cover up failings at Basildon Hospital.
Jackie Doyle-Price’s scathing comments come after newly-released e-mails showed ministers prevented the Care and Quality Commission from publishing devastating inspection findings in 2009.
The unpublished 2009 CQC report showed patients were dying from poor care at Basildon Hospital.
Blood was found on curtains and chairs and catheters were left on the floor but the hospital still displayed a good rating on the watchdog website.
Ms Doyle Price said: “These e-mails show the CQC was placed under undue pressure from the Department of Health to suppress information relating to safety at Basildon Hospital.
“It also proves the CQC said it had no confidence in the senior management at Basildon to address the high death rates.
“This raises serious questions about the role of Monitor as a regulator and even more serious questions about the role of Labour ministers, who were more concerned with their political reputations than with the safety of patients.
“Perhaps Labour didn’t want a bad news story at a hospital that served two marginal constituencies.”
She added: “How many lives could have been saved if action had been taken in 2009 and when the management weaknesses were identified?
“In the last year we have seen the change in leadership has led to improvements in care at Basildon.
“Those improvements could have started sooner if we could have had a little more honesty.”
East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe has called for a full investigation to be launched.
He said: “The evidence presented suggests Andy Burnham, then Health Secretary, and his team, attempted to manipulate the release of CQC reports into failures of care.
“I hope there was no collusion that denied patients the right to know the truth about care.”
Angela Smith, the East Thurrock MP at the time, below left, insisted problems at the hospital were always made public, but admitted the claims should be looked into further.
She said: “If there is any truth in the allegations there needs to be a full investigation.
“I was in constant contact with Basildon Hospital at the time and if there was ever any bad news, it was always out in the open. If there is a suggestion of a cover-up, then it was a pretty poor one.
“It is somewhat strange as it doesn't fit in with my experience at all.
“Hiding the problems at Basildon Hospital would not benefit anyone as we can only solve problems by being honest about them.”
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